The marathon. I made it. It was incredible, but I have to say also much more difficult than I thought. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t think about how hard it would be to run 26.2 miles but I just didn’t. I trained (up to 20 miles), I ate well, I read everything I could about getting ready for the race. Sunday morning I was so excited I was actually happy to be up and out the door at 4 a.m. I danced to Michael Jackson at the starting line in the minute before the race started. I just had no idea how weird things get after mile 20, after passing into uncharted territory.
Uncharted territory that looked mostly like this:
Before I ran the race, I thought I knew what I’d write about it. Something along the lines of “it was great-I’m so proud-so interesting to run my first race in my hometown” and figured I’d draw some kind of interesting parallel between running a significant race in a town I wanted to run away from for so many years, etc.
But while I was running I what I actually spent the most time thinking about (between lip synching to show tunes and “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and feeling slightly awed by how beautiful the course was) was how lucky I am to have the family I have. I started getting some gnarly blisters around mile 8, which was way too soon, and to avoid thinking about how uncomfortable that was I just focused on seeing my family sometime between mile 14 and 15. I worked. Look how happy they made me:
I know for certain that I would not have completed the race if not for my family. Around mile 18 I was exhausted and frustrated and wanted to quit. And then I caught sight of my Grammy and Papa on the side of the road, smiling. I grabbed my Papa and made him run half a mile with me and that is honestly the moment that I knew I wouldn’t quit even though I wanted to. From mile 20 on I had a family member with me for at least part of every mile. My dad and Oliver hung in with me for a mile each, my mom jogged with me briefly – but if you know my mom and her background you know that’s pretty amazing. Even my little sis jogged a half mile with me in her Toms. That must’ve hurt.
God, I love them. I love how in my family we don’t do anything alone. When something great happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. Something bad happens, we’re all devastated. It can get annoying, but when you’re trying to do something like recover from a broken jaw (my brother), raise money for your low income student’s prom (my dad), or finish the last six miles of a marathon, it’s pretty amazing.
Despite the blisters, the weird cramp in my glutes (I ran like six miles punching myself in the butt to get it to go away) and the strange mental experience past 20 miles, I can honestly say I can’t wait for the next one. As long as my family is there.